Lessons Learned, or What I am Discovering About Being an Author

We’re starting our third week fully rocking and rolling here at Gelineau and King, and we have been making some pretty awesome progress, I think.  Our first novella is out in the hands of our beta readers right now, and the second novella is about 1/3 of the way through its first draft.  Joe also pitched me the details for the third novella, and it sounds awesome as well.  All in all, things are pretty good right now.

But there have definitely been a few things that have opened my eyes over the last couple of weeks, and they are what I wanted to talk about briefly today.  They all have to do with what it means to try and be an author today.  And the biggest revelation continues to be that only a small part of being an author actually involves writing the stories.

Now, let me maybe amend that.  It is a small part in terms of the sheer number of other things that manifest and become necessary.  I am in no way saying that the actual writing of the stories is not the most important part.  Of course it is, and to say otherwise would just be ridiculous.  As my good friend, Karina often says “I may be crazy, but I’m not CRAZY.”  Without the actual writing and stories themselves, you don’t have anything.  But that is the part that you know going in.  That is the part you expect.

It’s the other stuff that is the crazy stuff.

Now, even as I write this, I need to be honest.  The truth is that Joe is taking on the lion’s share of a lot of those other responsibilities, to free me up to spend my time doing the actual writing.  He is doing things like establishing our business, talking to artists, researching the mechanics of self-publishing.  And all of those things are practically a full time job.  Even shielded from them, I can see the sheer amount of research and work it takes.

The other realization I have arrived at came when we finished the draft of the first novella, and sent it off to the beta readers.  It was a great feeling, but it was not time for celebration yet.  The book is not done until it is out and published, and you can go to Amazon and purchase a copy (which you all are totally going to do, right?).

So the next morning, after novella 1 was done, I came into the office and started work on the first chapter of novella number 2.  And this felt stranger to me than I expected.  We’d been sweating, stressing, and writing hard to get “Elinor” (temporary name for novella 1.  Title to be revealed soon) done for 6 weeks (the first Elinor section was done April 27), and we finally get the last section written (after an intensive first week), and the very next morning, we’re already writing “Ferran” act 1.  No celebration, no break in between, no extended patting each other on the backs.  And no excuses. Just right into novella 2, “Ferran.”

It was a strange feeling, but in a way, it brought an entirely different type of satisfaction.  It was the satisfaction of the job, of coming in and doing good work, and knowing there was more work still to do, and being ok with that.  And I liked it.  I really did.

This summer has been an amazing experience so far, and we are just really getting underway now.  I know when I talk to other writers they tell me how jealous they are that this is something I am able to do.  I don’t for a moment think they are wrong.  This is an amazing opportunity, and I am loving it. It is exhausting, and the pace is grueling, but I would not trade it for anything.

Greatest summer ever.

-Mark

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